News Release Header
For Immediate Release:
August 04, 2020
Media Contact:
Chris Hudtwalcker
[email protected]

Commissioner Eileen Higgins’ legislation to provide $3 million in direct support to hotel workers approved by Board of County Commissioners

MIAMI-DADE – At the August 4, 2020, Miami-Dade Board of County Commissioners special COVID-19 meeting, the Board approved legislation sponsored by Commissioner Eileen Higgins, District 5, to create the Hotel Worker Relief Grant Program to provide financial relief and professional support to employees who have been furloughed or lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The $3 million allocation of funds for the program comes from federal CARES Act dollars received by Miami-Dade County.

“Not only have these employees lost income, health care coverage, and all sense of financial stability, but their professional growth has completely come to a standstill,” said Commissioner Higgins. “Working with the Greater Miami and the Beaches Hotel Association and Miami Dade College, we came up with a program that helps our hotel workers catch up on their bills or pay for health insurance while also exposing them to a range of opportunities, both inside and outside of the hospitality industry, and a brighter future.”

Commissioner Higgins worked with Miami Dade College, who will administer the grant and training program, as well as the Greater Miami and the Beaches Hotel Association (GMBHA) in the development of the program. The Hotel Worker Relief Grant Program will provide financial compensation of $1,000 to up to 2,500 eligible employees who successfully complete a hotel training workshop. The training workshop will include a curriculum for the professional development of hotel workers, including employment skills training, opportunities for advancement in the hotel industry, and exposure to other career paths.

“We have the capacity to administer grants and activate this comprehensive curriculum at the same time,” said Lenore Rodicio, Executive Vice President and Provost of Miami Dade College. “This program is a model of collaboration, bringing together higher education, local government, and the tourism industry to provide real support to those in need. Miami Dade College prides itself on changing lives through accessible, high-quality experiences, and that’s what we intend to provide for these individuals in need.”

The hotel industry is one of the leading employment sectors and a vital contributor to the County’s economy, with employment in the travel and hospitality sector reaching 147,000 jobs in 2019 and creating an estimated $17 billion in economic impact, according to the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau. This innovative program will tap into the relationships and expertise of the GMBHA and can connect with a wide range of employees impacted by the pandemic.

“The COVID-19 crisis has been devastating to the Miami-Dade County hospitality industry, and especially for our hotels that have had to let employees go,” said Wendy Kallergis, President and CEO of the Greater Miami and the Beaches Hotel Association. “This program, in partnership with Miami Dade College, is a great start to providing urgently needed financial and career employment support to affected hotel employees. We appreciate the County Commission for taking a step forward in supporting the people who make Miami’s phenomenal tourism industry what it is.”

For more information, please contact Chris Hudtwalcker, Legislative Director for Miami-Dade County District 5 Commissioner Eileen Higgins at [email protected] or 305-375-5924.